From San Francisco, California, Jonathan Titmouse writes songs that demonstrate a deep love of 1970’s pop and art-rock. Distant echoes of T-Rex, John Lennon and even Three Dog Night can be heard, but the songs are imbued with a raw poetry and an outsider’s wit that give them a greater weight than simple retro-revivalism.
Prominent throughout the debut EP are the powerfully expressive voice and keen lyrics of Benjamin Leon. Leon fronted the Los Angeles band How To Win At Life in the early 2000’s before joining San Francisco gypsy-rockers Diego’s Umbrella in 2009. After losing his brother and father in devastatingly rapid succession, Leon left Diego’s Umbrella in 2014, impelled to return to making more personal music. At his father’s wake, Leon had been introduced to Andrew Carnegie Hall, an old family friend whose brilliance on the piano he had long heard about but never heard in person; Leon reached out to Hall soon after their introduction and the pair struck an immediate creative chord that catalyzed a new season of writing and recording.
Inspired after bird-watching at a friend’s wooded New England home, Leon adopted the pseudonym Jonathan Titmouse as a playful counterweight to the themes of loss and grief that loomed large over the first collection of songs. Furthermore, the songs themselves contain counterweights that prevent them from slipping into bleakness. The Jonathan Titmouse EP boasts funky rhythms, oddball percussion, soaring guitar solos, and gospel-styled backing vocals that infuse it with a fierce vitality and gallows humor that attest to a heart that won’t give up the ghost.